Why Do You Want This Job?

Sep 14, 2021

Elizabeth Houghton

Sutton Full Potential Founder

Everyone who’s ever attended an interview knows that this is one question that all recruiters and hiring managers ask. In fact, you could say that this question – “Why do you want this job?” – falls in the Top 10 questions every candidate should prepare for.

To be honest, how you answer this question can determine the outcome of your interview. Either your interviewer will be very pleased and choose you for the job, or they’ll disregard every good thing you’ve said and focus on the answer you gave to this question.

So, this is why I’ve decided to give you some insights into how you can answer this tricky question so you make a positive and memorable impression on your interviewer.

What can go wrong when answering this question?

The biggest risk you face when answering the question – “Why do you want this job?”, is that you may accidentally reveal the truth. The fact is, there are many self-centred reasons why we apply for a job.

For example, you may have applied because the pay for the job was much higher than in your current role. Or, your new company is located close to your house and the commute time is really short. This list could also include reasons such as –

  • You are enamoured by their compensation and benefits package.
  • You want to use the company’s creche facilities because you have young children.
  • You know that a short stint at this company will help you jump to a better one in the future.
  • You haven’t been offered a job by your dream companies, and you’re settling for this one temporarily.
  • You know that employees are rewarded to an international trip each year or that all managers are gifted a company car when they join.

The fact is, you can’t share these reasons – no matter how valid they seem to you – with interviewers. It is a sure-shot way to get disqualified from the selection process. Plus, many MNCs keep a record of employees’ performance during interviews. And they may blacklist you from future interviews because of your replies – which they may perceive as offensive.

So, the only way to answer the question – “Why do you want this job?”, is to answer it smartly.


Tips on answering the question – “Why do you want this job?” in the right manner


When answering the question – “Why do you want this job?”:

Show that you’re truly and genuinely interested in the job/company

Study up about the company and the things it’s up to. You will definitely find something that seems exciting to you. Use that as an example and show interviewers that you are really excited for the future that the company is ushering in. Talk about how the company has such a special place in the community and how you want to be a part of the transformation it’s bringing in.

Describe how your life goals are in sync with the company’s vision 

It’s really important to show interviewers how your life goals can be manifested by joining this company.

I don’t mean goals like “Joining this firm will help me pay my bills”. I mean larger goals and your personal ideologies such as, “Helping customers who can benefit from my knowledge and expertise” or “Finding more sustainable ways to make these products and saving the Earth in the process”. Study the company’s mission & vision statement to familiarise yourself with what their corporate goals are.

Additionally, you can explain how you champion the company’s causes in your personal life. Give examples of how you lead a sustainable life, how you volunteer in your free time, etc., and how your lifestyle choices match the company’s causes and beliefs.

Talk of how the company’s expertise can enrich you personally 

Every job will enrich workers professionally. But you should also focus on how this company and this job will enrich you personally too. Talk of the possible challenges you may face on the job, the learning experiences you will encounter, and what you can take home from this job. Talk about how you look forward to putting yourself through this experience and how interested you are in emerging as a new person.

Describe how this role fits into your life’s career path 

Every employer knows that very few employees spend their entire lives in the same job/company. So, they won’t expect you to make false claims that you’ll retire with this job. But what they want to know is whether you will be committed to this role or not for the next 5-7 years.

When answering the question – “Why do you want this job?”, describe how the job you’re applying for will help you reach your dream career. For example, a job as a Business Consultant can give you the experience you need to be a successful entrepreneur in the future. Explain how the time you spend at this company will shape your foundations and allow you to succeed later in life. Earnestly assure interviewers of your commitment, loyalty, and stability on the job for the next few years.

Explain why this job and this company are appealing to you now 

You should also explain why you’ve chosen this year and this time, in particular, to apply for this job. To do this, I recommend that you track the company’s progress in the news. Focus on what new projects they’ve taken up or new initiatives they’ve recently supported. You can always refer to these and talk about how you want to contribute to these projects that the company has started now.

Mention the leaders/projects you’re excited to work with & why 

Another way to answer the question – “Why do you want this job?”, is to talk of the people you’ll get to work with if you do get this job. It’s necessary to know who the department heads, the C-suite employees, and other key personnel are, so you can make an authentic claim. You can talk about how these individuals have inspired your career and how much you look forward to working under them.

Give an example of any upskilling you are doing (or plan to do) for this job 

One of the best ways to show interviewers why you want a particular job is to prove that this job is valuable for you. To do this, describe the preparation you have underway to get this job. Talk about any training/certifications you’re taking up and how they will help you on the job if you get it. This shows proactiveness and can make a powerful impression on the interviewer.

Additionally, mentioning these upskilling can also be a great way for you to describe what value you can bring to the table if hired. Employers do want to create a mutually beneficial relationship with employees and they’ll be thrilled to see how they can benefit from your skills.

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